Rochelle Little League recognizes National Cancer Survivor Month

Former Rochelle Little League umpire and cancer survivor Roger Tourdot throws out the ceremonial first pitch during Monday's special ceremony at Floyd J. Tilton Park. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Tourdot tosses ceremonial first pitch as community shows support for survivors

ROCHELLE — Rochelle Little League players will have something special worn on their uniforms when they take the field in recognition of National Cancer Survivor Month this June.

Players will wear pink ribbons on their uniforms this month, with the slogan #WeWillRockYou designed into each ribbon. The ribbons are meant to send a message to cancer survivors in and around the Rochelle community that both Rochelle Little League and the Rochelle community stand with them. Chicago Contractor Supply donated the logo.

“I feel that as a community, everybody needs to know that we all stand together,” Rochelle Little League umpire Albert Burciaga said. “We’re all one big family. I was raised in Rochelle and I raised my kids in Rochelle. It’s important for people to know that we’re coming together and acknowledging that our survivors have fought hard to overcome this devastating disease.”

Rochelle Little League hosted a special ceremony at Floyd J. Tilton Park on Monday, with Chris Haas and Hub Printing donating a special banner, with the pink ribbon and #WeWillRockYou slogan, to hang over the first-base dugout. Before Rotary and Central Bank faced off at Joe Doner Field, players and coaches on each team lined up on opposite baselines before Burciaga delivered an empowering speech to the community.

Both teams then huddled up before taking the field as the song “We Will Rock You” by Queen played over the loud speakers.

“We want people to know that we’re with them,” Burciaga said. “I have a cousin in Texas who’s a five-year cancer survivor, and I think a lot of people know 1-or-2 others who have survived cancer… Hopefully this becomes an annual event.”

Parents and family members wore special T-shirts with the pink ribbon and #WeWillRockYou slogan to show their support during Monday’s ceremony and baseball game. The ceremony was special for many fans in attendance including Roger Tourdot, a former Rochelle Little League umpire and cancer survivor who was initially diagnosed in September 2010. Tourdot took the mound and tossed the ceremonial first pitch to his grandson Tommy.

“It was a pretty cool moment,” Tourdot said. “I had never done anything like that before, and throwing the ball to my grandson was really cool… It’s a life-changing thing but I’m here today. My famous quote is that, if I get up and put both feet on the floor, it’s going to be a great day. I’ve been in remission for nine years… I think this event would be great for the community.”

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